Promotional image. Conjures an image of some leviathan, set to destroy. (via DARPA)
Getting gear to the US Navy can sometimes be a hassle especially for ships in the middle of an ocean. That task usually relies on other ships already at sea or flights from various bases located across the globe. This is problem especially when certain pieces of proprietary technology are needed but located too far away to get to where it is needed at that particular point in time. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has devised a project that could tackle the logistics needed for today’s Navy, which entails ‘stashing the goods’ undersea. The project, known as ‘Upward Falling Payloads’, would use air-tight, leak-proof containers that are anchored to the ocean floor that are positioned all over the globe in key areas where certain pieces of technology are needed. These containers can remain on the ocean floor for years until needed and then can be ‘awoken’ remotely and surface (or fall upward) on command. Non-lethal unmanned drones, sensor networks and communication/networking systems are a few of the choices currently being considered that could take advantage of the program, which in essence is a cheap form of stealth as very few countries are capable of reaching or exploring the oceans crushing depths. In order to bring the UFP project to life DARPA is looking to address 3 key areas including communications (remote operated systems), deep-ocean risers (the containers themselves and the vehicle that brings them to the surface) and the actual payloads themselves (situated with long-time submersion). The Agency is looking to tap personnel from the scientific community as well as the oil and telecom industries who have expertise when it comes to deep-ocean engineering. DARPA states that the equipment to be stored in their containers will not consist of weapons or highly valuable gear that could put Americans at risk if the container is lost, damaged or in enemy hands. As to when these might be deployed are anyone’s guess, however DARPA is already looking for proposals on building the UFPs, which suggests their deployment could be sooner rather than later. The world is soon to be a scarier place.